When an author writes a book he has a message that he is trying to get across to
the reader. This message is called a theme. In The Killer Angels Shaara’s theme
was freedom for the slaves. The Northerners truly believed that the slaves
deserved to be free, and their desire to set slaves free was the cause of the Civil
War. Just before the Battle of Gettysburg, Colonel Lawrence Chamberlain of the
20th Maine gave a speech to a group of mutineers. He told them that the war in
which they were fighting was unlike any war in history. The war in which they
were fighting was not for money, property or power. It was a war to set other men
free. After the battle began, Sergeant Tom Chamberlain asked a group of
prisoners why they were fighting. They gave no answer, but asked him the same
question. Sergeant Chamberlain answered, “To free the slaves, of course.” The
South, however, was against freeing the slaves. The entire Civil War, whether the
people were for or against the idea, was about freedom.
The Killer Angels was informative, very fascinating and I liked it. I liked
the book because I learned many things from it. I’d never thought much about the
importance of the Battle of Gettysburg until I read The Killer Angels. From this
book I learned many things. I learned that the Battle of Gettysburg was the turning
point of the Civil War. Prior to Gettysburg, the South had won most major battles.
At Gettysburg, however, the North gained it’s first major victory. From then on,
the North continued to gain momentum, winning virtually every battle for the
following two years of the war. The Battle of Gettysburg exhausted both armies;
greatly decreasing their reserves of ammunition and soldiers. The North had more
than twice as many men as the South, and since the North was industrialized, they
could replenish their supplies of men and ammunition fairly quickly. The South,
however, could not replenish their supplies quickly because of the lack of
industrialization and manpower. The supplies lost in the Battle of Gettysburg
ultimately lost the war for the South.
I also learned that Confederate General Robert E. Lee was not a good
military tactician. Evidently, he thought that, as in most of the previous battles,
the Confederate army could win this one with a series of charges. On the second
day of the Battle...